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Federal Aviation Administration Issues Safety Directive for Some Boeing 777 Planes

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has uncovered a safety issue with more Boeing 777 aircraft and issued an airworthiness directive to address the 'unsafe condition.'
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In the directive released today, the FAA outlined in an email concerns about the potential of electrical discharge in the fuel tanks of certain Boeing 777 aircraft in the event of a lightning strike or short circuit.

In addition to performing detailed inspections, Boeing and operators are to take corrective action by installing a Teflon sleeve on certain wire bundles in close proximity to fuel sources that may become chafed and increase an incident potential.

While the thought of the potential for sparks near a fuel source sounds rather scary, the risk is not seen as that high.  The original general directive dates back to 2001, when the administration wanted to ensure airlines and aircraft manufacturers had systems in place to minimize sparks near fuel systems.

Boeing and airlines have 60 months to comply with the latest directive thought to involve up to 1,700 777 aircraft in service.

The Teflon sleeve corrective measure was mandated in a 2017 directive by the FAA  for installation on some 777 models. Boeing reported in late 2021 that additional 777's could use Teflon sleeves. The administration followed Boeing's recommendation and issued the directive.

The news comes as Boeing is celebrating a successful run at last week's Farnborough air show while nervously awaiting some good news, especially regarding the government's certification of their new 737 MAX 10. There is a December deadline to meet for certification before modifications to the cockpit's systems take effect in 2023.

The wiring is not the only corrective action the FAA has taken on the 777. Back in December of 2021, they issued a directive addressing problems with Boeing 777-200 aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines. The FAA investigated an engine failure on a 777-200 Hawaii-bound plane taking off from Denver and found fan blade failure to be the cause.

The December 2021 directive called for the strengthening of the engine cowlings, enhanced engine fan-blade inspection, and examination of other systems and components.

 Download attachment: Airworthiness Boeing directive (PDF)


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